Friday, September 22, 2006

Living Fast

I feel like life's been in fast-forward lately, so I'm going to resort to headline-itas to share the latest goings-on.

L.A. Odyssey
As I did with Maxito, I took a vacay after weaning. Genevieve was wild because, after I intiated weaning, she lept on the bottle bandwagon without any drama. I'd read about babies self-weaning, but always with a little suspicion. But it does happen (sometimes)! So, I flew to Los Angeles and met Meggie and Carrie. We went to many punky little galleries and shops, the highlight definitely being seeing The Datefarmers doing their Mexican street art-prison tattoo-lucha libre-religious icon thing at New Image Gallery. I also adored Toy Town, the downtown district filled with cement-floor warehouses packed with cheapo toys and trinkets. We picked up some saint bracelets, a stool made of purple fun fur, a set of gold buddhas, embroidered shoes, Japanese stickers, and some sweet mango, chile& lime in a cup.

Whoa. Maxito's been in K-land for over a week, now, and he hasn't had a breakdown. He favors recess and science, and won't tell me much else that's happening. He got his name on the board yesterday, for asking a girl what to do on an assignment. I acted cool about it, but I couldn't help but think how I never, not once, put a kindergarten child's name on the board for punishment. What's the point? Anyway, he's made a friend or two, so I'm happy.

Play Group
And I don't mean one for babies! I'm in the Portland Playwrights Group, and things are whipping along! I've written a multimedia piece about immigration called "Cautionary Tale". I've begun another cartoony, anarchic comedy called "Hong Kong Phooey Hustle" because, lately, I've been obsessed with Hong Kong Phooey, that Kung Fu-fighting dog of the '70s. And I just met with an owner of a cafe on Alberta Street who many want to host some of our productions.

Tries to walk with us supporting her. She overlifts each leg--we call it moonwalking. Today, she had me support her as she tried to run so she could see Max in the other room. She's almost 13 months--I just can't believe it. She sings and yodels. She loves dogs (a little too much, actually, pulling their fur between her fingers). She snarls at me a la Billy Idol if I take things away from her. She stills pulls off her socks, crows about it, stuffs them in her mouth, and then waves her feet around wildly.

40 Hour Man
My husband, Steve Lafler, has written this brilliant book. He's getting so much attention. He's been interviewed by radio stations in Portland, North Carolina, and Minneapolis so far, and he's hosting a publishing party in October at The Know, my favorite Alberta Street bar for 15-year-olds. Go, Steve, go!


Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Dear Genevieve and Maxito

To my babies:

I don't want to wax too sentimental, but I was talking with my dear friend Trey the other night and we had to agree that our babies have given us the adventures of our lives. Trey and her son Kyle spent the summer saying "What do you want to do today?" and then diving in. Something about having children has opened us up, compelling us to move forward while also reflecting on the best parts of our childhoods.

Maxito, you turned 5 in July, and you start Kindergarten next week. I love the smudged smiling Happy Ghost pictures and many-eyed alien drawings you bring home for me now; I can only imagine the beautiful art projects that await. You spend so much of your day giving and being kind--trying to make baby Jenny laugh, feeding her Cheerios, asking me for a huggle on the couch, offering your hair for Jenny to grab and eat, and saying, "Dada, can I help? Can I do it, too?" Today you busted your piggy bank open to buy a marzipan croissant at the Star E. Rose cafe, and it reminded me of how Jenny would buy a croissant every day after school.

Genevieve, you turned one a few days ago! You seemed to know the party was all about you at Pambiche's Hora de Amigos--you chomped on the cocktail menu, shouted at everyone who came into the restaurant, gulped down plantains and arroz con leche, and tried to grab all your presents at once. You are my tough little girl, but with a sweet soul like your auntie.

Yesterday, I got obsessive. I was trying to clean up every last piece of spilled rice off the floor, and I kept spotting one more grain. In the meantime, Daddy was holding naked Genevieve, about to give her a bath, when he heard two little splats of poop hit the floor. You see, there is no time or space for cleaning up every grain of rice when you have two kids. I embrace the chaos, with all the tears and the anxious calls to urgent care and the robots made out of garbage because every moment, every tiny thing, has made Maxito and Genevieve who they are, my sweet shining stars.